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Get Ready For A 'Super Bloom' Of Wildflowers In The Anza-Borrego Desert

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By Mariel Turner

The formerly barren Anza-Borrego Desert will soon be covered with spectacular wildflowers, thanks to the heaviest rainfall in nearly a decade.

Wildflower experts predicted in February that heavy downpour in the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is located about three hours southeast of L.A., would lead to a record bloom season.

Purple sand verbena flowers, yellow brittlebrush, California lupins and white desert lilies are all expected to bloom within the next few weeks, Ernie Cowan, president of the Anza-Borrego Foundation, told LAist.

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“The classic field of color plant out there is the dune verbena,” Clayton Tschudy, director of horticulture at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, told KPBS. “It can cover whole fields with purple, and when you stand out there you can smell its sort of sweet delicate scent.”

“Because of the water this year, the unprecedented amounts of rain, there is an incredible amount of bloom,” said Cowan. “Hundreds of different varieties of flowers. We’re probably going to start to peak mid-March, in about two weeks.”

The desert, located two hours away from San Diego, typically does not bloom this early in the year, according to Cowan.

Visitors can look forward to large volume of blossoms near Henderson Canyon Road and Di Giorgio Road on the north end of the desert.

“The best bet, if you don’t know Borrego and haven’t been there before, is to go to the Visitor’s Center, which is at the west end of Borrego Palm Canyon Drive” said Cowan. “There are areas that are green that you’ve never seen green, grass and plants growing in areas we haven’t seen in years because of the volume of rainfall.”

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In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the ABF is also offering free access to the Borrego Palm Canyon hiking trail where visitors can check out the vibrant flowers, plus native palm groves, sheep sightings and a waterfall.

Upcoming free dates include March 25 to 26 and April 1 to 2.

Mariel Turner is a freelance reporter who covers local and entertainment news in Los Angeles.